If you are planning to build a new home, you should consider the advantages of installing a solar energy system to power that home. There are long term cost advantages that are likely only to increase in the coming decades as fossil fuels become more expensive. There is also the reliability of solar energy, and the fact that it is virtually free. It is only the collection and distribution system that costs money. Add to this the satisfaction of contributing to saving the planet from global warming by not burning fossil fuels, and solar is an attractive choice.
When building a new home you can have your architect build in passive solar products to greatly decrease home heating costs. This means installing large windows on a south-facing wall. These windows are specially made to capture the sun’s heat in winter. Double or triple paned windows with gas inside are extremely efficient at keeping heat in. In summer, they are designed to keep sun rays out, keeping your home cooler. “How can they do this?” you may ask. Advanced design of the tilt of the window accomplishes this.
Also, as your new home is built, insulation can be maximized, thus also decreasing your heating and cooling costs. These measures are easier and more cost efficient when building a new home than when upgrading an older home.
Passive solar will not be enough to provide all your energy needs. You will need Photovoltaic solar panels to produce electricity to power your home, and a solar hot water system using panels that heat the water piped through them on the roof. Your architect can design your roof to maximize the effectiveness of solar panels.
Depending on how much hot water you use, you may need to augment the solar heating with some electric power.
Though the initial cost of installing solar energy systems is high, the long term savings on monthly energy bills is great. It is generally estimated that these savings will pay back the initial cost in 10 to 15 years. Since your system should be warrantied for 25 to 30 years, it is like getting energy free for the last half of your system’s lifetime. You can also benefit from state and federal tax credits given for installing solar energy systems. The current federal tax credit is for 30 per cent of your installation cost, and is good up until 2016.
Check to see if there is an FIT program available in your locality. FIT stands for “feed in tariff.” It means that you can sell surplus electricity to the local power company when your solar panels are producing more power than you need.
The ecological benefits of solar power are well known. But consider also the environmental benefit within your home. Because there is no combustion involved in producing solar power, your home is free of toxic emissions, including carbon monoxide. Solar power is quiet. There is no noise of machinery running, as with a conventional furnace.